JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa is objecting to suggestions that it is promoting an international trade in the horns of rhinos, which have been heavily targeted by poachers.
The problem stems from plans by a South African rhino breeder for an online auction of rhino horn next month. It comes after a court ruling opened the way to a domestic trade, despite the international ban that was imposed in 1977.
South Africa's environmental department said Monday there is a "false impression" that it approves of an international trade due to websites advertising the auction. Some were translated into Chinese and Vietnamese. China and Vietnam are key illegal markets for rhino horn.
The department says it is evaluating the plan for an online auction.
South Africa is home to most of the world's rhinos,